There is increasing optimism about the economic prospects for the nation, but people still feel gloomy about their own financial situation, according to the latest Kantar Public Public Opinion Monitor.

The survey of 1,224 adults found a strong increase in the number of people who think the economy has improved and will go on improving, but most people expect no improvement in their pay or income in the next year and half (49%) feel their level of job security has not improved.

The Public Opinion Monitor found that:

  • 27% think the economy is in better shape than a year ago, up from 4% in September 2011 and 10% in March this year. Only 18% now say that the economy is worse than a year ago, compared with 57% in September 2011.
  • Only 13% expect the economy to be worse in a year’s time, down from 43% in September 2011 and 28% as recently as March, while 29% expect it to be better, up from 11% in September 2011 and 17% in March.

This upturn in sentiment is accompanied by a less critical view of the government’s handling of the economy. In March, half (51%) rated the government’s economic performance as poor: this has fallen to 38%. Approval for the government’s record is still weak: 27% say its management of the economy is good, but this is up from 17% in March.

However, while there is clearly a more optimistic mood about the prospects for the country, this has not yet led to significant change in how people see their own financial circumstances, though there is some improvement in how they view their employment situation.

Most of those in employment (60%) expect their pay to remain about the same in the coming year, a figure that has hardly changed over the last two years. The number expecting a pay rise – 24% is also little changed.

But fewer people feel that their job is less secure than a year ago: 29% now against 39% in December 2011. The highest job insecurity is in the North West, where 32% of those in employment think their job is less secure than a year ago.

More than a third (37%) say they are finding it harder to manage within their monthly budget than they did a year ago, down from 58% in September 2011.

The generally static state of household incomes means that there still seems to be limited enthusiasm for spending: three quarters (75%) say that, if they got a substantial pay rise, they would either save more or pay down debt, with only 25% saying they would spend it. This picture has changed little in the last two years.

The top issues that people think should be addressed remain unemployment (45% put it as one of their top three policy priorities) and economic growth (42%). The proportion saying that more should be spent on health care has risen from 29% in March to 35% now.

POM September

Notes to editors
Detailed tables for this survey can be found below . Please treat with caution those figures where the sample size – the unweighted base – is less than 50.

TNS Omnibus interviewed a representative sample of 1,224 people between 12th September and 16th September 2013.

All interviews were conducted as online self-completion. The data is weighted to match population totals for age, sex, social grade, working status, presence of children, 2010 voting patterns and region.

About Kantar Public
Kantar Public is a leading provider of specialist social research, offering insight into public policy to government and not-for-profit clients. Delivering a range of approaches including bespoke proprietary research and consultancy, random probability survey capabilities, as well as social marketing and polling, our work informs policy makers across national and local Government at the highest level. Kantar Public forms part of the Kantar group of companies.

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